Friday, May 30, 2008

Why are We Still in Iraq if Things are Going so Well?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Al Qaeda is essentially defeated in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and on the defensive throughout much of the world, CIA Director Michael Hayden said in a Washington Post interview published on Friday.

"On balance, we are doing pretty well," Hayden told the newspaper this week citing major gains against Osama bin Laden's network and its allies. "Near strategic defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq.

TPJ: Bush, McCain and other supporters of the occupation in Iraq have constantly said over the years that when the Iraqis stand up then we will stand down. Well, according to even the Bushies they are standing up as seen in the battle for Sadr City. We toppled Saddam, found no WMD, established a democracy, nearly defeated al-Qaeda but more importantly convinced the Sunni that al-Qaeda isn't their friend and that they were using the Sunni insurgency to attempt taking over Iraq.

The Sunni and other Iraqis are now defending their country from al-Qaeda. Iraq is a proud country and while they have spats amongst themselves, they will not allow al-Qaeda to take over their land. It's not unlike a family that fight each other at times but unite to defend the family against an outside force.

We should pull our troops out of Iraq to focus even more on Afghanistan if indeed al-Qaeda has nearly been totally defeated in Iraq and is on the defensive in much of the world. If they are weaker now in Afghanistan then transferring many of the troops in Iraq should put even more pressure on al-Qaeda in that region.

It seems that the only reason that we are still there is to stick to this stubborn idea that we can mold Iraq into the same style of democracy that we have here in America which is impossible and impractical to expect. Each democracy in the world has its own style. It's ridiculous to assume that Jeffersonian democracy is right for all countries and cultures.

There are many countries in the world and in the Middle East especially that are quite stable and receptive to the west who are not a Jeffersonian democracy. Jordan is a type of monarchy and they have been quite co-operative with "freedom loving nations" to use a rusty, blunt Bushy phrase. Kuwait is another example of the possibility to be a friendly state without a democracy. And last but not least in the Bush world, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who are of course quite strict with Islamic law and monarch rule but they are still close allies with America and the west.

So again I ask, "If Iraq is going so well then why don't we leave like Obama is saying we should?"

And if it still isn't going so well the question remains the same, "Why are we staying?" In other words, if they haven't figured out their issues to exactly the degree that we want them to then can we really expect that they won't somehow figure it out without us there? It's not like our presence has exactly persuaded them to make much political progress. In addition, our military is not a diplomatic institution that knows the nuances of political policy, nor should they be a political wing of the government.

At some point we have to let go of the training wheels, let them learn how to ride the bike so to speak, make their own mistakes and learn to fix them themselves. We went through a horrible civil war that nearly ripped out country in two but after a bloody, costly fight we brought it back together. No one fought the battle for us and we are the better for it. We went through some growing pains but because we did it on our own we learned self-reliance and the art of what it takes to run a unified country.

We can't stay until they don't have any problems, which will never happen. No country or government is ever fully functioning or perfect. Every country goes through their civil wars and periods of upheaval. We can't just go around and occupy every country that is in the middle of strife or isn't the kind of Democracy that we recognize as the "ideal."

Either way you look at it--it's time to leave Iraq.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

John "Bush 2.0" McCain, Phil Gramm and the Mortgage Meltdown.

This from the MSNBC program Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

John McCain’s top financial advisor Phil Gramm was a paid lobbyist for the Swiss bank UBS which is very much involved in the mortgage crisis here in America that has hit the economy so hard.

And was at the same time involved in shaping McCain’s economic policies and being an unpaid economic adviser to the campaign. UBS declined to comment when asked if Gramm had ever lobbied McCain specifically on the banks behalf. No comment is never a good sign. If they had no connection you'd think that they'd shoot that suspicion down outright.

In the wake of the mortgage crisis, UBS has told some of its bankers not to travel to the U.S. apparently out of concern that they might be arrested as apart of an alleged tax evasion scheme involving UBS clients.

Gramm’s employer was already in potential legal trouble directly related to the mortgage crisis, which some economists trace in part back to Gramm’s own deregulation of the banking industry in the 1990’s.

Chris Hayes from The Nation said on the program:

2.2. Million people are now facing foreclosure and the McCain economic policy optimistically would only cover 200,000-400,000 people. So it seems more than clear to me who’s side McCain is on—the banking industry. And so I find it more than suspicious that he has a well-known banking industry supporter working as a top economic adviser.

No wonder McCain wants to instead talk about silly things like urging Obama to travel to Iraq with him for a photo op. His economic policy offers zero help to the average citizen. He himself has said that he knows nothing of the economy and that’s clear through his decision to let Gramm help shape his economic platform.

These lobbyists keep popping up around McCain with dubious connections to foreign governments such as Myanmar and guys like Gramm. This is not the “maverick” John McCain of 2000; this is John McCain adapting the tactics of the Bush Neo-Conservative view of the world and the economy to gain political advantage.

He’s Bush 2.0 with some minor improvements but the core glitches still remain. He’s Microsoft Vista. He does not represent the kind of sweeping change that this country needs to reverse course to prevent the whole American experiment from going over the edge of the cliff. He’s the equivalent of a bandage when we need a life saving operation.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Is MSNBC Biased?

MSNBC, which bills itself as "the place for politics," is being pummeled by political practitioners.

"It's an organ of the Democratic National Committee," says Steve Schmidt, a senior strategist for John McCain's campaign. "It's a partisan advocacy organization that exists for the purpose of attacking John McCain."

TPJ: This is hilarious given that McCain has gotten a free pass from the media for months now and notice how they don't say that FOX News is biased toward him?

"To call us an arm of the DNC is a joke," he says. "We have people with multiple points of view. Everyone is getting a little thin-skinned. We argue and debate every topic." Terry McAuliffe, chairman of Hillary Clinton's campaign, says Matthews has been "in the tank" for Barack Obama "from Day One" and is practically "the Obama campaign chair."

TPJ: Again, hilarious when you consider how much MSNBC seared Barack during the Rev. Wright controversy. It lead most of their news channels for weeks on end and they beat him up pretty badly. In addition to covering his "bitter" remarks for a long period of time as well. He has taken his fair share of criticism from MSNBC too.

Besides, it has been clear fro awhile now that Clinton doesn't really have a chance to catch up to Obama and win the nomination. So of course they are going to speak of him as the likely nominee!! And what about Joe Scarborough and Pat Buchanan who have been very critical of Obama and supportive of Hillary? David Gregory is quite critical of Obama on many occasions too.

Meanwhile, former press secretary Scott McClellan has just written a highly critical book of President Bush that says Bush "manipulated" the public and was "not open an forthright about the war" in the lead up to the Iraq war. In addition his book says that Bush does not reflect or apologize. His book also says that Rove and Libby might have colluded together to about Plame case controversy. McClellan also says that Bush, "would come to believe that sometimes he convinces himself to believe what suits his needs at the moment."

This is nothing new to us who had these suspicions for some time but it is damning coming from such a Bush loyalist who was with W from his Texas days.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

John McCain the Professor?

Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting John McCain has offered to take his likely Democractic counterpart Barack Obama to Iraq to "educate him" on the real situation there.

TPJ: First off, Barack Obama has been to Iraq. Second, John McCain has been extremely condescending toward Obama lately treating him like a child and so I say that McCain's age is now something that can be questioned too. So maybe it's senility that is causing him to make these kinds of hollow and blustery charges.

That being said, let's talk about the particulars of the above statement. It's laughable that McCain thinks that he's the one in the position to be the educator when it was Obama who had the judgment to oppose this war from the beginning.

Sure "the surge" has helped but how long can we sustain such a force in Iraq? It's not a real solution but rather kicking the can down the road to keep buying time. How many times throughout this war have we heard, "We just need another 6 months to a year and we can end this war?"

And how is he the Iraq expert when he has repeatedly mixed up who we're fighting over there!!

McCain's 100 years in Iraq statement doesn't help him look professorial on the Iraq issue either since he has now gone back on that statement after clearly realizing the stupidity of such a position. So who is the dunce now John?

And can you Imagine the kind of security and logistics involved having two presidential candidates going to Iraq? Johnny boy obviously hasn't taken that into consideration with this "invitation" and he's talking about being the educator here? Ridiculous. Apparently McCain has forgotten saying Iraq is safer even though he has had to travel with a phalanx of fully armored humvees whenever he has visited the streets of Baghdad.

And he certainly was uneducated when he claimed that General Patraeus himself also drives around Baghdad in an unarmored humvee almost everyday. He denied that he said such things when faced with overwhelming evidence to the contrary such as General Barry McCaffrey stating, " Iraqi government official, coalition soldier, diplomat reporter could walk the streets of Baghdad without heavily armed protection.” McCain responded by saying, “Well, I’m not saying they could go without protection. The President goes around America with protection. So, certainly I didn’t say that.”

McCain keeps trying to tell us that he is so different from George W. Bush but his policy toward Iraq is exactly the same. As are his policies on the economy, the most important point being that he now supports the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy when he didn't use to. He's also (just like Bush) stubbornly states that he'll make decisions even if they are widely unpopular with the public. So people need to ask themselves, "Where has the McCain the 'maverick' gone?"

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

McCain Against New G.I. Bill in Part to Keep Soldiers in the Military.

John McCain claimed yesterday that he supports a new G.I. Bill with greater benefits but of course we know that he voted against a bill that would give just that to our soldiers. He said at the time that it was too generous. Well now we really know why he's against it. He said recently in reference to that bill and about his opposition that:
I want to encourage people to stay in the military and make careers of it, that's very important. And my friends, I don't need anybody to tell me about what veterans need. I know them and I understand them I understand them very well and so do you.
This gives new meaning to "once a soldier always a soldier" I guess. He's talking like he wants the military to be some kind of cult or mafia in that if you decide to do something different in your life after serving the military that they'll make it as hard as possible to get out.

He then went on to belittle Obama again for not serving in the military as a smoke screen to keep people from pressing him on why he didn't vote for that G.I. bill. As if someone who hasn't served can't understand that we need to take better care of our troops by increasing the benefits of the original G.I. bill to adjust for inflation and to better address the demands of the modern world.

You don't need to be a general to understand that. How does he expect new people to sign up for the military if he doesn't increase their benefits? Then again maybe he's against adjusting for inflation and the cost of modern living because of his lack of understanding of the economy which he himself has admitted. Hey John, how dare you oppose the increased funding of the new G.I. bill since you've never "served" in the business sector before.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Hillary Clinton Hoping for an Assassination?

The New York Post writes, "Hillary Clinton today brought up the assassination of Sen. Robert Kennedy while defending her decision to stay in the race against Barack Obama. 'My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don't understand it,' she said, dismissing calls to drop out."

Obama spokesman Bill Burton responded to Clinton's remarks. "Senator Clinton's statement before the Argus Leader editorial board was unfortunate and has no place in this campaign."

TPJ: OH.MY.GOD. Is she saying what I think she's saying? Because it sounds to me like she is hinting that anything could happen such as Obama being assassinated as Bobby Kennedy was and in which case she would take his place? It sure sounds like it to me. First It was comparing the Florida/Michigan delegates issue to the rigged elections in Zimbabwe and now this???

Of course you never know what could happen and we all know that the country would turn to the candidate in second place in such a horrible situation but even daring to voice that possibility is pretty twisted. Especially given that Barack is African-American and we all know that there are crazies out there wishing that they could take him out.

UPDATE: This from Hillary: "I regret that if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation, particularly for the Kennedy family was in any way offensive. I certainly had no intention of that whatsoever. My view is that we have to look to the past and to our leaders who have inspired us and give us a lot to live up to and I'm honored to hold sen. Kennedy's seat in the United States Senate in the state of New York, and have the highest regard for the entire Kennedy family."

Nice try but I think it's pretty clear what she meant, she's playing us for fools. You may not have intended to offend anyone but you did and you may not have intended to make that assassination runner up connection but you did. Sorry Hillary it was a nice attempt but you can't put that tooth paste back into the tube that easily. She's needs to fully come clean about her intentions with these comments which is pretty obvious.

I guess she'll blame the media now for getting the context all wrong. How could the context be anything but saying, "You never know, Obama could get assassinated so I'm not giving up just yet." I mean, she stated those words about his assassination in the context of why she should continue the race!! I just don't see how you can explain it any other way. Of course she has the right to stay in the face until the end which is why these statements are all the more bizarre.

I know that she doesn't wish Obama would be assassinated and I believe that she feels bad but still these comments are beyond wrong. However, why did she directly reference RFK's assassination when trying to make the point that anything could happen? Why not just reference campaigns who have fallen because of gaffs (like her ghoulish statement ironically) instead of bringing up something so tragic as an assassination of a U.S. Senator and member of the Kennedy family. Hasn't that family suffered enough?

I think she just ruined her chances of getting on the ticket as his V.P. choice.

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Obama Versus McCain on the New G.I. Bill that McCain Didn't Support.

Barack Obama criticized John McCain today for not supporting the new G.I. Bill which I wrote a post about awhile back. Obama prefaced his criticism with a tribute to McCain's valiant military service:
"McCain's opposition to Senate legislation that would expand educational benefits for military veterans ignited a heated crossfire between the two White House contenders as they gear up for November's presidential election campaign.

McCain, a former Navy pilot and prisoner of war in Vietnam, reacted sharply after Obama criticized him for opposing the legislation. The Arizona senator did not return to the Senate to vote on the measure, which passed easily.

"I take a backseat to no one in my affection, respect and devotion to veterans," McCain said. "And I will not accept from Senator Obama, who did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform, any lectures on my regard for those who did."
TPJ: Oh here we go. Of course McCain didn't talk about why he didn't support the bill (he said the bill is "too expensive") because there is no good explanation that doesn't make him look like an asshat. Instead he goes to the knee-jerk Republican ad hominem attack that Obama can't dare question McCain because he served in the military and Barack did not.

The problem is that McCain has before defended Republican leaders who hadn't themselves served in the military such as Bush, Cheney and others. It's a typical Republican attack to go after their opponents patriotism to try and deflect attention away from them. It's the fear card that they have so shamefully played in past elections.

He sure is a maverick when he goes against the conventional wisdom to vote to support our troops with this new G.I. Bill. So being a "maverick" isn't always a good thing.

And where was McPain when this all went down? At a fund raiser for his campaign. So giving more money to soldiers to go to college after their service is bad but raising money for yourself, good? That's logic that only a "maverick" could understand I guess.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

McCain's Pastor Problem Continues. Pastor John Hagee: Hilter Did God's Work.

John Hagee, the controversial evangelical leader and endorser of Sen. John McCain, argued in a late 1990s sermon that the Nazis had operated on God's behalf to chase the Jews from Europe and shepherd them to Palestine. According to the Reverend, Adolph Hitler was a "hunter," sent by God, who was tasked with expediting God's will of having the Jews re-establish a state of Israel.
It also may provide a new round of political headaches for McCain who has admitted that seeking out Hagee's endorsement was a mistake, but still declared himself "glad to have" it.

But his interpretation of the role of the Nazis could be harder to dismiss, in part because McCain and Sen. Barack Obama are expected to compete heavily over the Jewish vote come the general election, in part because McCain has said he admires Hagee's commitment to Israel

As Wilson notes, in his 2006 book "Jerusalem Countdown", Hagee proposed the theory that "anti-Semitism, and thus the Holocaust, was the fault of Jews themselves -- the result of an age old divine curse incurred by the ancient Hebrews through worshiping idols and passed, down the ages, to all Jews now alive." He also wrote that "Most readers will be shocked by the clear record of history linking Adolf Hitler and the Roman Catholic Church in a conspiracy to exterminate the Jews."

TPJ: So far the MSM (mainstream media) hasn't hit this issue nearly as hard as they did with Obama and Rev. Wright. This pokes the soft underbelly of the real reason that many Christians support Israel, so that Armagedon can occur which will just so happen to wipe out many Jews.

Concerned Jews:
cite a verse from Revelations claiming that Jesus will return only after two-thirds of the Jews are killed and the rest are converted to Christianity. "They are not supporting us out of love," says one opponent, Rabbi Shalom Dov Lifshitz from the anti-missionary group Yad La'achim, "but because they believe that if we convert out of Judaism to Christianity, it will bring on the Apocalypse." And that, he says, is "a danger to the people of Israel."

As Wilson notes, in his 2006 book "Jerusalem Countdown", Hagee proposed the theory that "anti-Semitism, and thus the Holocaust, was the fault of Jews themselves -- the result of an age old divine curse incurred by the ancient Hebrews through worshiping idols and passed, down the ages, to all Jews now alive." He also wrote that "Most readers will be shocked by the clear record of history linking Adolf Hitler and the Roman Catholic Church in a conspiracy to exterminate the Jews."
TPJ: So these recent comments that have emerged by Pastor Hagee must be condemned by McCain who is supposedly a strong supporter of Israel. But condemning these comments isn't good enough, he must denounce Hagee and no longer say that he is "glad to have" the endorsement of the controversial Pastor just as Obama did with Wright. McCain must be held to the same standard.

Perhaps McCain is against diplomacy with Israel's enemies because doing so might prevent those states from attacking Israel and thus blocking and stalling Armageddon. You never know especially with his connection with this Hagee nut. It is up to McCain to prove me wrong.

Speaking of appeasement, here is John McCain supporting this kook when before he condemned such people as "agents of intolerance!!

We need to pound the network news channels to report on this even a fraction of the amount of time they devoted to covering the wright statements.

Meanwhile, Clinton is saying the Florida/Michigan voting issue is like that of what is going on in Zimbabwe where there is out right vote rigging and violent oppression of anyone questioning such an act. This is going way, WAY beyond the pale by Clinton, this Florida/Michigan issue will be settled and those delegates will be seated. Hillary is basically threatening to blow up the Dem's chance to win in November if she doesn't get her way. She's holding the party for ransom.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

John McCain's, "Double Talk Express."

Thanks to my good friend over at Progressive Eruptions for tipping me off to these videos called, "The Real McCain." Shaw runs a great blog so check it out if you haven't already. As the videos state, please forward these clips to as many folks as possible because the mainstream media isn't covering McCain hardly at all:
Part II:
In other news: Obama opens up an 8 point national lead on McCain.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Johnny McCain and His Lobbyist Problem.

John McCain is saying that Barack Obama’s plan to meet with our enemies such as Iran (like JFK did to end the Cuban missile crisis and like Ronald Reagan did to help end the Cold War with the Soviet Union) shows his, “inexperience and reckless judgment.” John McCain voting to go to war in Iraq and continued support of the quagmire is reckless judgment.

Barack Obama had the judgment and fore sight to know that the war was unnecessary and did not support the effort to invade Iraq but instead supported staying the course in Afghanistan to hunt down bin laden and the Taliban. They were the ones behind 9/11, not Saddam and his aging military.

Yet McCain has no other answer other than continuing down the same destructive and failed path that George W. Bush blazed. All McCain has to respond with are ad homonym attacks because he is just more of the same, he’s Bush part III.

The fact of the matter is that the Bush/McCain strategy has only made Iran stronger, they have been the ultimate winners from the Iraq war because we took out their long-time enemy for them in Saddam Hussein. Hussein was a tyrant and nutcase to be sure but he maintained the balance of power within the Middle East, keeping Iran in check.

McCain is worried that Iran will develop nukes and so does Obama but Barack sees that if we sit down with them than perhaps we can work out a negotiation where they won’t do such a thing. One thing is for sure, if we keep treating Iran as evil and unable or willing to change then certainly Iran will become nuclear. If someone feels threatened then they will become defensive and Iran is no exception. If we elect McCain and he keeps insulting Iran like Bush has then yeah, we will have a serious threat to face with Iran.

However, if we engage in diplomacy with them then perhaps we can first lower the temperature of the debate and the tension between the two countries. Second, we can start building trust, which enables parties on both sides to compromise more freely. John McCain is apart of the Bush mentality that diplomacy takes too long and dropping a bomb on them is more effective. Has McCain learned nothing from Iraq? Clearly he hasn’t.

Now it turns out that the lobbyist connection with McCain is back in the spotlight. If you remember awhile back McCain was in trouble for saying he’s anti-lobbyist but it was discovered that he had lobbyists working on his campaign. Well we find out now that another five were discovered and some of their clients were countries such as Myanmar (Burma) that just was hit by that terrible cyclone and where Buddhist monks marched last year for freedom.

In that instance the lobbyist helped the junta there to try and improve their “image” in relation to the world community. So McCain criticizes Obama for wanting to work with our enemies. Yet all the while McCain is working with a former lobbyist who not just talked with a dictatorship but worked to help hide their brutal crimes of humanity to try and convince the world that they are a legitimate government. Niiiiiice. :(

Another lobbyist working with McCain was representing Saudi Arabia and their interests. The “interest” that comes to my mind when I think Saudi Arabia is oil and it turns out that's true.

I guess this is what McCain means by calling himself a “maverick/reformer.” It certainly is so "Marverick" to have lobbyists on your staff that has worked for a regime that is no less terrible than Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Maybe McCain is so opposed to dialogue with Iran because he wants to farm that job out to one of his lobbyist friends. There goes his image of being the crusader in Washington D.C. against lobbying corruption and malfeasance in government.

It is commendable that he has finally purged them but why didn’t he do that long ago? Surely he knew that this would be an issue. Another question is how did those lobbyists get into this campaign in the first place? I think the bigger issue is what does this say about a possible McCain administration? I think that in seeing how a candidate runs their campaign is a good indicator of how they would manage a government and Obama’s campaign puts McCain’s to shame.

Speaking of John McCain being another Bush, I watched the cartoon movie of “Family Guy’s” version of Star wars titled, “Blue Harvest” last night. It was hilarious as only “Family Guy” can be. One of my favorite parts was seeing one of those diamond-shaped space ships seen at the beginning of Stars Wars with a “Bush/Cheney” sticker on the back. It's classic.

Tuesday May 20th addendum: John McCain was pandering to the Cuban-American community today stating in his speech this morning that he supports the rights of Cubans to form labor unions and yet here in America he has had a weak record when it comes to supporting unions.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

George W. Bush, John McCain and Kevin James are on the Wrong Side of History.

Patriot: the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.

-Mark Twain, More Maxims of Mark, Johnson, 1927.

I want to spend a second day discussing President Bush's remarks yesterday in Israel criticizing Obama and other like minded people who want to return to the time proven tool of diplomacy.

First of all, I find it ironic that President, "I don't know history" Bush disparaged talking with one's enemies while traveling through Israel when Israel has done just that--successfully talked with foes on several occasions. Israel engaged in diplomacy with their long-time enemy Egypt and negotiated a peace treaty as well as with Jordan, another former enemy. In addition, currently Israel is talking with Syria to negotiate some kind of settlement as well. So not only were his remarks a slap in the face to Barack Obama, logical Americans but they were also a slap in the face to his hosts, the Israeli's themselves!! And on their Independence Day no less!!! He's such a parasite.

And what's with McBush agreeing with the Boy King's remarks? So much for the argument that McCain isn't another Bush. On the major, most pressing issues of this election such as foreign policy and the economy they are conjoined twins.

This brings us to that pesky little thing called history which numerous Republicans apparently think is optional to understanding the world. President Abject Failure and his organ grinding monkey John McSame are confusing talking to our enemies with appeasement. Engaging in talks with our enemies is about negotiating a settlement where both parties concede points to over-come a conflict. It's about give and take, whereas appeasement is a policy of conceding (giving in) to the other party, giving without getting something in return. So the Bush-McCain attempt to compare Barack Obama and those who agree with him with the WWII appeaser, Britain's Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain is totally absurd.

Neville Chamberlain's mistake wasn't in talking with Hitler and his people but was instead appeasing them in hopes that if they just gave Hitler what he wanted, (The Sudetenland-which is basically the western part of the Czech Republic) that he'd be satisfied and end his military ambitions.

So there are many, many Republicans who don't know their history and prefer the "ignorance is bliss" policy. Thus, it was so sweet to see Chris Matthews last night challenge one of these ignoramuses about the facts on his show, "Hardball." Take a look:
I think that finally most Americans have woken up to the fact that the Republican Party doesn't know what the hell it's talking about anymore. They've been bullshitting their way through politics for at least 8 years now that even some of the most ardent apologists have run out of excuses to explain away the McCain-Bush led Republican Party.

They are a "Wizard of Oz" party, once you peel back the curtain you see that they are just making shit up as they go along. They are no longer the party of Teddy Roosevelt or Eisenhower who at least understood his history--military and otherwise. They better reinvent themselves or they are going the way of the Federalist Party.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bush Politicizes 60th Birthday of Israel by Attacking Obama.

Published: May 16, 2008

JERUSALEM — President Bush used a speech to the Israeli Parliament on Thursday to issue a veiled rebuke to Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential contender, who has argued that the United States should negotiate with countries like Iran and Syria.

TPJ: Well we have seen under Bush what happens when we don't talk to our enemies, we end up in war. I guess he would rebuke Ronald Reagan for engaging in talks with the Soviets who were more powerful than Iran could ever hope to be.

The Republicans love to talk about how Reagan helped bring and end to the Cold War and the fall of the Soviet Union. However, without engaging in talks to build trust, I don't think the Cold War would have ended as easily. I don't agree with a lot of what Reagan stood for but I do admire him for talking with our enemies. Even Nixon knew the importance of direct talks when he went to China to secure a better relationship.

The Bush spokespeople are saying his comments weren't addressed at him but Obama is the only candidate in the race who is willing to engage in talks with Iran and Syria to build trust which without, peace and reconciliation is nearly impossible. In addition, the attack on talking with our enemies assumes that those talks wouldn't have some teeth to them and that Obama would just buckle to all their demands and be manipulated to give away a piece of America or something ludicrous. That is such a cheap shot but Bush has perfected the art of the cheap shot.

Bush has said that he doesn't want to engage in the '08 campaign and yet here he is attacking Obama over-seas which breaks a long held position that partisanship stops at the waters edge and if this wasn't bad enough he used the 60th anniversary of the state of Israel to level this slander. One would think that the America president, our representative of American commitment to Israel would honor the anniversary and the effort of the Israeli people to maintain their culture. Then again we're talking about George W. Bush here who doesn't have a statesman like quality in his squeaky toy brain. Perhaps the worst part is that he compared talking to Iran like a senator in America who wanted to talk to Hitler as WWII began. I don't find it a coincidence that Bush used the specific example of Nazi's while talking to the Israeli parliament.

The other point that needs to be addressed here is that Bush does not have any clout to level such charges. He and his policies of blowing shit up instead of talking has done basically nothing to solve the issues surrounding the Israerali-Iran, Syria tensions. In fact, his cowboy diplomacy that he is still advocating has only made us less safe here in America as well as making the world more dangerous. It is beyond arrogant of him to criticize diplomacy when his method has only made things worse. Obviously he hasn't heard that famous definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.

President Dumb Ass knows that Obama does not support talking with terrorist groups such as Hamas and yet he here hinting as such a claim. Bush knows well that Obama supports the free state of Israel and is trying to whip of a controversy to try and drive a wedge between Barack and the Jewish community. Barack Obama, however, has long held strong ties to the Jewish community and absolute unequivically backs Israel as a strong, loyal and important ally.

As usual Bush blows the opportunity given him via the chance to speak before the Israeli parliament to talk about ways to bring about peace amongst the two groups. Instead, he wastes their time and his opportunity trying to score petty political points back home. He then basically contradicted his own attack by saying this later in the speech, "Overall, the Middle East will be characterized by a new period of integration and tolerance," Mr. Bush said.

Yeah tolerance is gained through trust and trust is hard to bring about with the barrel of a gun or a hell fire missile. True and lasting trust is brought forth through good old fashioned talking. I know--this is something foreign to President Winchester. I guess the days of doing cocaine are catching up to him because we are currently talking to a state sponsor of terrorism in North Korea.

Robert Gibbs, the communications director for Senator Barack Obama had this to say, "I assume he also is going to come home and fire his secretary of defense, who was quoted in “The Washington Post” just yesterday saying, we need to figure — quote “We need to figure out a way to develop some leverage and then sit down and talk with them.” “Them” being Iran."

I'm glad that the Obama campaign is jumping on this and not letting the Republicans "swift boat" him.

John McCain says that it is naive to talk to Iran and says such a position shows that Obama is inexperienced. Hmmm, I'm waiting then for McBush to say the same of his supposed hero, Ronald Reagan who apparently was naive by talking to the USSR as I mentioned above. It's clearly a partisan attack to criticize a Democrat who advocates such talks but not your Republican hero. Yet. Yet, McCain said earlier in the week that we need to end partisan attacks!! "I'm not interested in partisanship that serves no other purpose than to gain a temporary advantage over our opponents." What a head case.

Some Republicans are now saying that the president can attack any American from over-seas in any venue he sees fit but that it's not o.k. for anyone to attack the president while he's over-seas. This is your typical, Washington D.C. game and exactly the reason why we need change. Our policies over the last 8 years have been proved outdated, dangerous and wrong.

This underscores how out-of-touch the Republicans have become, even from their own "supporters." As of yesterday, Democrats have won 3 special elections held in strong Republican districts in a row. The GOP should be nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof about this. Because is these elections are any indication, they will be beat pretty badly in November.

Leave it to Bush to drop a big stinking turd in the punch bowl.

Oh yeah and John Edwards endorsed Obama yesterday, is it the nail in Hillary's coffin? Will it help Obama in Kentucky? Only time will tell. Also, today Barack Obama picked up four of the John Edwards delegates after yesterday's endorsement. As well as another super delegate and the endorsement of the United Steelworkers union.

Addendum: Thanks to Jolly Roger for the McSame gif that you can now see at the top right of the blog.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

How "Green" is John McCain?

(McCain (left) seen advocating for nuclear energy)

John McCain has said that he supports efforts to stem global warming which he touts as a difference between he and Bush and that is commendable and positive. However, a closer investigation shows that his "greenness" is rather hazy and misleading. He talks big but when it comes down to it he mostly nibbles around the edges of the problem rather than taking it if full on. His main green talking point is saying that he supports cap and trade policies but that doesn't go far enough, it's a bucket of water thrown on a fire in hopes that it will put the raging inferno out.

The cap and trade should be a first step but from what I can tell that's the big plan in the McCain camp--that and more nuclear energy which I discuss later in the post. He is an improvement on Bush but barely. It's doesn't take much to do better given how little President Oil did on the environment and McCain is pretty much doing the bare minimum to pander to green conscious voters.

It's not that he voted against environmental protections. He just didn't bother to show up for the vote on the 15 legislative issues the league included in its scorecard -- measures that would have
eliminated subsidies to big oil, created a national renewable electricity standard and included $5.7 billion in tax incentives for renewable energy in the economic stimulus package.

TPJ: His efforts amount to baby steps but we need to take leaps and bounds to make up for lost time. He prefers to leave many needed environmental changes up to the free market which is basically advocating for doing nothing because the free market has done very little in policing itself.

If the free market is the solution than why haven't they made the necessary changes all along? Because there have been no penalties if they don't meet necessary goals. As much as many people hate the government, sometimes it is needed to step in to ensure that big changes occur when necessary for the safety of the citizens. Reducing green house gases and switching to alternative fuels isn't something that we can just leave up to the business community. There must be incentives and targeted mandates but McCain is no where to be found when it's time to getting serious and advocating sacrifices by big business.

He has supported the oil companies in advocating for drilling off-shore. He also supported a controversial telescope to be built on Arizona's Mount Graham which required razing a forest that sustained an endangered species of red squirrel. In addition to those stances, he is a big supporter of nuclear energy which is cleaner on the emissions front. That being said, it creates extremely hazardous and radioactive waste which negates and dwarfs any benefits gained. In addition such advocacy for subsidies for nuclear energy goes against McCain's claim to be against special interest pork barrel spending.

Tax credits for renewable power are needed to nurture nascent wind and solar industries. Yet, twice in recent months, McCain has skipped votes on Democratic bills that would, respectively, shift tax breaks from oil to renewable energy and offer incentives to boost efficiency. Both failed by a single vote.

TPJ: So when McCain could have really made a difference in making progress on the environmental front in the congress, he was absent. Does that sound like someone who says that they are committed to seeing big changes on fighting global warming?

It's hard to shake the feeling that McCain may have been more interested in using global warming to burnish his maverick reputation than in passing legislation. "[T]he day-in, day-out negotiations you normally see - those weren't taking place," says Steve Cochran of Environmental Defense. Indeed, just last year, McCain refused to endorse a similar cap-and-trade bill sponsored by Lieberman and Virginia Republican John Warner - which actually has a shot at passing this year - just because it doesn't mention nuclear power. It's an absurd quibble for someone who thinks global warming is a colossal problem (the nuclear industry hardly lacks for subsidies as is) but a fine pose for someone who wants to be seen flouting conventional wisdom.

TPJ: John McCain's confusing record on the environment makes it hard to tell just how serious he is when talking about the environment on the campaign trail whereas Obama is a sure bet for pushing real and meaningful environmental progress.

See for yourself: Here are the two candidates website pages discussing the environment, you decide for yourself which one offers more specifics:

John McCain.

Barack Obama.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

John McCain and the New G.I. Bill.

This is a long post but very important. Please read it even if you have to do it in chunks. It's a critical issue that isn't getting enough attention in this campaign.
It is shocking to me that we can't get this bill passed and that Senator John McCain, a veteran himself is not supporting this bill. Yet he is staking his presidential campaign on his veteran status and having a supposed unique understanding of military affairs. However, here he is opposing a bill that is bipartisan in nature to support our troops.

This reminds me of those I see who slap those "Support the troops" magnets on their cars and then say, "Well, it's the least that I can do for them." Yeah, it is literally "the least that you can do." If you honestly want to support the troops then you need to back Barack Obama because he is fighting for the troops in a very real way by supporting this new G.I. bill and other veteran issues.

Barack Obama sought out a seat on the veterans affairs committee in the Senate to work hard for their rights.

We fought to make sure that the claims of disabled veterans in Illinois and other states were being heard fairly, and and we forced the VA to conduct an unprecedented outreach campaign to disabled veterans who receive lower-than-average benefits. I passed laws to get homeless veterans off the streets and prevent at-risk veterans from getting there in the first place. I led a bipartisan effort to improve outpatient facilities at places like Walter Reed, and slash red tape, and reform the disability process.

I passed laws to give family members health care while they care for injured troops, and to provide family members with a year of job protection, so they never have to face a choice between caring for a loved one and keeping a job. I'll also build on the work I did in the Senate to confront one of the signature injuries of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - PTSD. We have to understand that for far too many troops and their families, the war doesn't end when they come home.

Just the other day our own government's top psychiatric researcher said that because of inadequate mental health care, the number of suicides among veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan may actually exceed the number of combat deaths. Think about that. Think about how only half of the returning soldiers with PTSD receive the treatment they need. Think of how many we turn away - of how many we let fall through the cracks. We have to do better than this.

And when I'm President, we'll enhance mental health screening and treatment at all levels: from enlistment, to deployment, to reentry into civilian life. We also need more mental health professionals, more training to recognize signs and to reject the stigma of seeking care. And we need to dramatically improve screening and treatment for the other signature injury of the war, Traumatic Brain Injury. That's why I passed measures in the Senate to increase screening for these injuries, and that's why I'll establish clearer standards of care as President.

The Illinois Democrat said McCain, whom he added he greatly respects as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, doesn't like the new plan. ‘He is one of the few senators of either party who oppose this bill because he thinks it's too generous,’ Obama said. ‘I couldn't disagree more.’”

"At the same time, we must never forget that honoring this service and upholding these ideals requires more than saluting our veterans as they march by on Veterans Day or Memorial Day. It requires marching with them for the care and benefits they have earned. It requires standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our veterans and their families after the guns fall silent and the cameras are turned off."

“‘At a time when the skyrocketing cost of tuition is pricing thousands of Americans out of a college education, we should be doing everything we can to give the men and women who have risked their lives for this country the chance to pursue the American dream.’”

TPJ: Barack may not have the medals but he talks the talk and deeply understands that we owe it to our veterans to give them everything thing that we can because they deserve the best that America can offer them. McCain thinks that the bill is too generous but can we ever be too generous towards those brave men and women who gave an even more generous gift to the rest of us, the gift of freedom? How can John McCain say that this new bill is too expensive and generous and at the same time support the George W. Bush tax cuts for the rich?!! Shame on John McCain, he should know better on this issue.

McCain has introduced a watered down version of the bill but it reduces the college benefits that the bipartisan bill seeks to give out. In addition, his bills allows those who have served 12 years in the military the chance to pass those benefits to their children but not those who have "only" served two tours in Iraq and some who have "just" lost a leg.

So yes, we honor McCain's service in Vietnam and his sacrifice for America in that prison camp but that being said, that doesn't mean that he gets a free pass on all things military. It doesn't mean that he always knows best on those affairs. Clearly he does not and we Obama supporters need to make sure that he doesn't go unchallenged on such issues. We need to really keep this G.I. bill issue on the fore front of the discussion of why McCain is the wrong person for the job of president.

In other news: Barack picked up four more super delegates today, one being my former Governor Roy Romer from Colorado who was also co-chair of Bill Clinton's re-election campaign in 1996. He is also a former Democratic National Chairman and said today that he believes this primary campaign is over. I hope that his endorsement will spur on more Colorado supers to back Barack.
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Sunday, May 11, 2008

So You Say McCain is a Maverick Who Doesn't Walk in the Shadow of Bush? Well Chew on This.

A Washington Post analysis notes McCain voted with the GOP this term 88.3 percent of the time, the same as Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., whose conservative credentials are seldom questioned. McCain ranked ahead of 29 other Republicans, including Arizona's Jon Kyl, who holds the No. 2 spot in party leadership. (TPJ: And Kyl is known for his rabid conservatism).

Congressional Quarterly gave McCain a 90 percent score for "party unity" voting last year and said he supported the president's position on legislation 95 percent of the time.

TPJ: His maverick status isn't as solid as you might think, sure he has done a good job in branding and marketing that label for political gain but the record shows that his opposition to the Republican party line is pretty thin. For example, there has been a lot of talk on his opposition to Bush's economic policies of making his tax cuts to the rich permanent in 2003.

At the time it seemed that he was really taking a stand on principle and yet he sold that all away in reversing that position during this presidential campaign. So considering that the economy is the number one issue on voters' minds this cycle, it is a big deal that he is now selling us all out in favor of winning the support of the fat cat Republican conservative hardliners. It's a big reversal and it's a bit like someone giving you money to help you pay for necessities and then when you're not looking they steal it to give to your rich neighbor to curry favor with them in hopes that they would advance their lust for power.

McBush once took a stand against radical right-wing religious fundamentalists like Jerry Falwell and Rev. John Hagee whom he called, "Peddlers of intolerance." Now he has embraced them and curried the vote and support of their sycophantic followers all the while condemning Obama for his connection to Rev. Jeremiah Wright whom Barack has distanced himself from. Yet McCain has yet to reject and distance himself from Hagee and his ilk.

As many of you know, Hagee has said that Hurricane Katrina was God's vengeance upon New Orleans because of it's level of sin stemming from being gay friendly and the party nature of the French Quarter. The Reverend has said he didn't mean that but then recently went back on that and stated that yeah, he did mean it. Hagee has also made anti-Catholic and anti-Semetic comments in the past and yet you don't hear a peep from the conservatives about the radical reverend and his connection to McCain. The reason that this is an important issue is because of the hypocrisy involved. You can not make a big deal out of someone's association with a radical figure (Obama/Wright) and then not expect people to do the same about your own connection to a controversial person(s)!

He and his supporters have gone to great pains to try and separate himself from the Bush legacy saying he's different. Yeah he was different, back in 2000 when he ran against Bush and even seemed to loath him. However, since then he has embraced (literally at times) "W" going so far as to say at a conservative fund raiser that campaigning for Bush in 2004, "was one of the proudest moments of my life." Michael Barone of U.S. News and World Report said of that fund raiser, "McCain spoke fervently and with obvious sincerity about how much he admires Bush and the job he has been doing."

A maverick tends to be unpredictable and that isn't necessarily a good thing. Plus, a maverick is someone who has a tendency to make risky decisions and adopt policies without much thought going into it and they tend to have impulse control issues. Having an independent streak can be good but it also means that mavericks tend to be belligerent and McCain's infamous anger validates that label not unlike Georgie boy. The presidency of the United States is a stressful job and someone who is quick to anger is not the best person qualified to deal with that kind of pressure. Barack on the other hand is about as cool, calm and collected as they come. Being a maverick often borders on stubbornness and that is another quality that we've had enough of for the last 8 years. Electing John McCain is going with more cowboy politics where the norm is shoot first and ask questions later.

Friday, May 09, 2008

John McCain on "Losing His Bearings."

Oh, here we go. First John McBush called Barack Obama the candidate of Hamas because someone within Hamas has apparently said they'd prefer him. As if Obama is courting the terrorist vote, his position on Hamas is no different that McCain!! So this accusation is so low rent and such a cheap shot that I almost would rather not even give it space on my blog except for one thing.

Barack defended himself by saying that the McCain accusation shows that he is "losing his bearings." However, the McStain camp is claim his statement of "losing his bearings" was a veiled criticism on McBush's age. Wow, that's reading a lot into three little words don't ya think? Why is he so defensive? To me it's saying McCain is out of touch and is focusing his attention on silly, ridiculous things. It's not a knock on his age, Obama is saying he's a person who is off-track, losing his moral compass. It's a statement meaning that McCain is lost in the weeds of stupidity.

McCain recently called Obama, "naive" so I guess we Obama supporters are supposed to fly off the handle and say that was an insult on Barack's younger status. John McBush has to say stuff like this because he has nothing else to offer but more war and the same Bush economy. He use to be against the tax cuts for the rich but now he's for it. Sounds just like Bush to me!!

I think they are throwing this crap out there as cover to break their "desire" for a civil campaign by saying this "incident" shows that Obama fired first so that now it's all fair game. I'm telling you though, if they try and bring up the Rev. Wright story yet again, I think most Americans are going to make it clear that they're tired of talking about that issue . I think we've all gotten tired of that bullshit. So much for that "straight talk" that McCain claims to be about. This twist of words is about as straight as Elton John.

Meanwhile, Obama picked up five new super delegates today which puts him only 4 away from over-taking Clinton.

Joke of the day: "Hillary Clinton barely won my home state of Indiana and she lost in the state of North Carolina but hears the good news, she has a substantial lead in the state of denial." -David Letterman.
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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Can Someone Prep the Fat Lady to Sing?

I think The fat lady is about to sing. I think we will see a flood of super delegates tomorrow jumping on the Obama ship that is about to sail into the general election. Barack won big in North Carolina and either barely lost Indiana (which is still a victory when you figure that everyone said he'd lose by 8-10) or barely won it. Either way, he was the clear winning and the wind is at his back again.

Running the numbers, after tonight Obama has more delegates and votes than Clinton-- even IF you count Michigan and Florida.

His victories are even more impressive when you factor in that the last 3 weeks he has been kicked around like a football. Yet despite all of this, Obama finally closed the deal and pretty much slammed of the door.

He has showen that he too is a fighter, he's resilient and can take a punch. He has shown by this impressive come back that he can take whatever the Republicans can throw at him. The Wright issue didn't appear to be as bad as predicted so I think that he has weathered the storm. If the GOP tries to bring that up again and beat that dead horse it still won't make it get up and run again for ya.

I think a key in his victories tonight was his opposition to the ridiculous gas tax holiday which was an insult to American voters. His opposition underlines his honesty and his authenticity to tell us what we need to hear even if it it's not "politically expedient."

Denver here we come!!!

Wednesday Update: Former presidential candidate, nominee and Clinton supporter George McGovern has switched his support to Obama and is urging Hillary to drop out of the race.

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Latest Poll Shows Indiana Race Tied.

Indiana is neck and neck in the final Zogby poll before the primaries. North Carolina appears solidly in Barack Obama's camp. In Indiana, the race is clear as mud, as Obama holds a statistically insignificant lead of two points, winning 45% support to Clinton’s 43% support, with 12% either undecided or favoring someone else." "The overall Obama advantage in Indiana—though statistically insignificant—comes after another strong day of polling Monday. The one-day total, which comprises about half of the two-day tracking poll sample, saw Obama winning 47% support to Clinton’s 41%. Monday’s polling results are combined with Sunday’s numbers to produce the two-day tracking poll.

TPJ: So. It appears that the race is tighter in Indiana than the Clinton camp would like you to believe. If you were thinking that the race in that state was an automatic win for Hillary and are therefore going to stay home today I urge you to get out there and vote! We need to end this primary debacle and the one way to make that happen is for Obama to win Indiana. He has the lead in all the measures used to gauge such things and so voting for Hillary is simply a vote to keep this nightmare going and a vote to keep us from attacking the real enemy--John McCain.

It's time to unite around Obama and stop the free ride for the Republicans and end their joy in seeing us bicker between ourselves. Hillary Clinton has run a good election but we can't let this thing keep being drawn out, the longer that we keep this primary going the harder it will be to beat the GOP in November. We need this precious time during the summer to replenish our coffers and hone in squarely on McBush. I realize that it's difficult to admit defeat if you're a Clinton supporter but I plead with you to think of the greater good of the party. We need to unify, so please vote for Obama today.

In North Carolina, we need you folks to vote for Obama in huge numbers. We need to get as many delegates in your fine state as possible to pad his lead so that we can end this and work to unite the party. If you're undecided, think about this: Barack Obama can compete with McCain for the Independent vote whereas Clinton can not do so well with Independents and without Indies it is difficult to win the general election. Hillary has been a strong opponent but it's time to end this, I can't take this anymore and neither can the Democratic party or the country.

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Sunday, May 04, 2008

Hillary Clinton Ignores Expert Economists on the Gas Tax Holiday Issue.

I watched the Hillary Clinton interview on "This Week" on ABC this morning and George was going after her on this gas tax holiday gimmick. Not even one of the smartest economists in the country and Clinton supporter, Paul Krugman agreed with this gas tax holiday non-sense. He calls it "pointless and disappointing."

When pressed on being able to name a credible economist who supports her plan she said, "Well, I tell you what, I'm not going to put my lot in with economists." Typical Hillary speak to brush off the experts of the economy and arrogantly say, "No, I know better. I know what's best for everyone."

George also mentioned the latest ABC poll that said 6 out of 10 (or 60%) of Americans found Hillary to be untrustworthy. Add me to that number.

UPDATE: Voters not fooled by gas tax holiday scam purposed by McCain and Clinton: In a New York Times, CBS News poll 71% of voters say that McCain and Clinton want to lift the gas tax to help themselves politically. Only 21% say they want to do it to help the average American. I hope that the good people of Indiana and North Carolina vote against Hillary for trying to pull the wool over your eyes with this gas tax gimmick. She thinks that you're too stupid to know the difference, show her that you're not going to put up with that crap.
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Friday, May 02, 2008

John McCain Wants Us to, "Wait for Godot" in Iraq.

McBush claims that those 100-10,000 years would only begin once peace was established like after Germany and Japan. However, there a few problems with this comparison at the very least. First, we aren't fighting a traditional army that can officially be broken, eradicated and a peace treaty signed. We're dealing with the guerrilla fighting, hit-and-run enemy that can wait us out and hide amongst the average population for as long as needed. They don't wear uniforms like a traditional army does. Second, we're dealing with many splinter groups and inter-Iraqi fighting which is like fighting not only a seven headed dragon but several of them at the same time.

When we fought the Nazis, the Japanese and the fascist Italians each one represented a single dragon protecting a single castle. Once you chop the head off (i.e. Hitler) the danger is removed but in Iraq, you cut one head off and not only are there six others left but a new seventh head grows right back where the old one was sliced off. All the while we're trying to prop up an army that doesn't want to fight and a government that doesn't know how to rule even after 5 years of patience and training on our part. Training the Iraqi army has been like trying to train a puppy to be an attack dog.

In addition, when do we know when this period of lasting peace will begin? I guess it's kind of like how some people say one can know what is pornography and what is not because, "you know it when you see it." It all reminds me of that brilliant play, "Waiting for Godot" where the characters wait for Godot to arrive but he never does and none of the principle players even know what to look for. Yet still they wait with only their faith to sustain their confidence. That's Iraq, just have faith, things will improve in six months and peace will finally be established. It's the boy who cried wolf, we just need six months and then nothing much changes and we are asked to wait another six and on and on.

And finally, staying in Iraq like we have in South Korea, Germany and Japan costs money that we don't have as well as requiring troops and equipment that we don't have either. We can't just occupy and protect every country in the world. It's just not sustainable. In South Korea there is a line of demarcation but in Iraq we're in the middle of everything, there are no discernible borders to protect and the surrounding countries (except for maybe Israel) aren't going to support a permanent American presence in the middle-east. The Iraqis themselves aren't going to like such a plan either. They want the violence to stop but they also want control over their own country and future.

IN OTHER NEWS: Obama picked up another super delegate today who is the second former DNC chairperson in two days to back Barack. Overall the super delegates have strongly broken for Obama for the past month or so.

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Hillary Clinton's Gas Tax Holiday Continues to be Seen as a Bad Idea.

Rising gas prices are hitting Americans hard, while oil companies rake in record profits. As the economy falters, calls to deal with the price of gasoline have reached the halls of Washington, D.C. "[L]awmakers are considering ideas they might have nixed months ago, including temporarily lifting the federal gas tax and halting deposits of oil into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve."

Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY) have called for a summer moratorium on the federal gas tax. McCain has not specified how to make up the
$11 billion; Clinton has proposed a tax on windfall profits from oil companies to recoup losses to the federal highway fund. Economic analysts of all stripes have responded with horror, pointing out that "the benefits will flow to oil companies, not consumers."

Even if a suspension of the gas tax led to lower prices, the rich would benefit the most, since "the more a family earns, the more they drive," notes Sam Davis of the Center for American Progress. Len Burman of the non partisan Urban Institute calls the proposal "a huge windfall for refiners." New York Times columnist Tom Friedman argues, "This is money laundering: we borrow money from China and ship it to Saudi Arabia and take a little cut for ourselves as it goes through our gas tanks." Newsweek's Jonathan Alter agrees, stating, "Suspending the federal gas tax is a crass ploy for votes."

The Atlantic Monthly's James Fallows calls cutting the gas tax "
destructive nuttiness" and "embarrassing." Economist Gilbert Metcalf called it "very short-sighted," noting, "If we want people to invest in energy-saving cars, we need some assurance that the higher price paid for these cars is going to pay off through fuel savings."

President Bush said Tuesday that he has no "magic wand" to affect gas prices. But as Steve Hargreaves of CNN Moneywrites, gas price is "all about government policy." Since the United States has some of the lowest gas taxes in the world, the price at the pump is dominated by the cost of oil. In congressional testimony one month ago, Exxon Mobil senior vice president Stephen Simon said his company believes the price of oil involves four components. The effects of supply and demand accounts for "somewhere around $50-55 a barrel," or about half the current price.

The second factor is the weaker dollar; since 2001, "
the dollar has lost 45% of its value" against the euro. The third is "geopolitical risk"; since 2003, the United States has been committed to a three-trillion-dollar war in Iraq, the heart of the turbulent oil-producing world. And the final component is "speculation"; investors have "looked to commodities not only as a hedge against inflation but as a hedge against the tumbling greenback."

IMMEDIATE ACTION: When asked by Reuters about the gas tax proposal, conservative economist Greg Mankiw recommended, "If you want to provide households tax relief, a direct more effective." Center for American Progress analysts Sam Davis and Daniel J. Weiss describe how a fast-acting "reliefbate" plan would work. Applied progressively, the "reliefbate" would provide reprieve to 80 percent of American households as well as all independent truckers, at a total cost of $23.2 billion, which "could easily be paid for by closing several oil tax loopholes and recovering lost royalties." The Washington Post's Dan Froomkin further recognizes that there are "two hugely significant factors" that Bush could take action on immediately: "the war in Iraq and the value of the dollar."


The Reverend Wright issue isn't as big a deal to voters as the pundits on the cable news shows want you to believe. In a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, John McCain's ties to Bush is what concerns most voters about the candidates at 43%. The next highest is Hillary where people are concerned about her changing positions on issues with 36%. The Reverend Wright issue is not even in the top three, it sits at number four in voters minds at 32%. So it's good to see that the majority of people don't buy what the media is selling on this Wright issue. That being said, it is however sad to see even 32% of voters willing to engage in guilt by association.

Meanwhile, a loyal Clinton supporter, former DNC Chairman and super delegate Joe Andrew from Indiana defected to the Obama camp. So despite this over-blown Wright distraction he is still picking up supers.
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